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Keeping It Off the Wall
by Ed Donath

Splitting Heirs

Cairo, NY——[Disclaimer: Jeff Olson is a talented and entertaining columnist. Despite the f-inheritor subject matter he regularly covers, I still enjoy reading his columns for their style, humor, and entertainment value. As Jeff wrote in his 11/5/07 Splitting Hairs SPEED piece: "The surgeon general warns that reading this unification garbage could be hazardous to your health and has the potential to bore you to death, especially if you have read it before... ” — which is a certainty if you've ever visited these cyberspacial coordinates.]

Speaking of entertainment value, the first and funniest premise Olson proposes in his commentary is that AJ Allmendinger is possessed of exceptional wisdom and perspective. Granted, AJ's recent comments about the identity crisis inherent in American open-wheel racing's two series are cogent and accurate as are Olson's.

However, while 'Dinger and Company has certainly mastered the art of the deal, great negotiating skills do not a genius make. Jeff Olson is an independent SPEED/RACER employee but his objectivity may, understandably, be somewhat compromised as a result of extended contact with f-inheritor proponents and propagandists.

To put the Allmendinger phenomenon in its reality-based perspective, AJ would be as much a household name as Marty Roth and Tristan Gommendy had Gerald Forsythe not provided the vehicle and support that enabled the race wins that catapulted Allmendinger into his current NASCAR notoriety. In fact, if it were not for the CCWS co-owner's largesse 'Dinger might still be unemployed or, at best, languishing with a second-string Champ Car team instead of pulling down megabucks wheeling Red Bull's back marker taxicab.

Furthermore, Allmendinger's reunification comments are not necessarily as spin-free and nostalgic as Jeff Olson might have been led to believe. It is entirely possible that many of AJ's talking points were suggested or inspired by the driver's benefactor, Red Bull. Why else would AJ, out of a clear blue sky, be commentating about open-wheel racing during a NASCAR weekend in Texas?

What does Red Bull stand to gain in a re-unified American open-wheel series? Well, AJ Allmendinger could actually be a high-achiever in Indy/Champ cars instead of an also-ran in stock cars. Most importantly, the company livery would not only be displayed prominently at Champ Car's most glamorous international festivals but at the Indy 500 as well. Sound familiar?

But speculation aside, it is easy to agree with Jeff Olson's assessment that... "It’s been more than a decade since the split. The points have been made, the damage done. We get it. We’re over each other. Time to end this nonsense and preserve the best of both sides before there’s nothing left to preserve on either side." ...unless you stop to consider how so many different movers and shakers have tried, so many different times, to "end this nonsense."

Of course, it's a lot easier to be stubbornly independent ten years after when most of the aforementioned movers and shakers are now marching in lockstep behind you. Nonetheless, at the end of the day there is only one person who can ever end this nonsense — the same person who began it after he inherited control of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Copyright © 2007 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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